We slept in and it was amazing. Jeff was up and out of the house for work before we were even awake, leaving us a key to lock up. We hadn’t realized how burnt out we were, but we slept so well and it was wonderful to recharge our batteries (literally and figuratively!). We finished our leftover Taco Bell for breakfast and quickly realized that Taco Bell was a TERRIBLE idea when you have three people and only one bathroom. We napped and cleaned up, eventually ready to walk or hitch to the grocery store around midday.
As we were putting our shoes on (on the porch because they were far too pungent to bring into this lovely home), Jeff pulled in. He was home for his lunch break. Since we hadn’t eaten lunch yet (and were of course starving, despite the Taco Bell), we suggested he come out with us. He drove us around the corner to a restaurant/bar where three out of four of us ate an obscene amount of food. While there, we saw a wildland firefighter team in uniform. We hadn’t heard of any active fires in the area, but it was a sharp reminder that it is the season and to be careful and aware. Jeff had to go back to work, so we thanked him profusely again and picked up his tab.
We meandered across the street to a small grocery store to resupply and were pleasantly surprised- they had an excellent selection of hiker food and many unique options. Future hikers: resupply here in Kernville! We bought lots of food and proceeded to sit outside of the store and remove all the packaging, portion things out, and share/trade/exchange and snack as we went. Fitting a full resupply in your pack is not always easy- food needs to be calorie dense, lightweight and compact. Very few foods meet all three requirements, so we’re still figuring out how to fit a week’s worth of food into a sack smaller than a grocery bag.
We called an Uber to take us to the Onyx post office, where we had shipped boxes, and then to the trailhead. Onyx is a tiny town in between the trailhead to Walker Pass and Kernville where we stayed. The post office is about the only thing there, but we didn’t know that when we shipped our boxes there. Our ride arrived and Bandaid and I almost immediately fell asleep, leaving Jailbreak to carry the conversation. Sorry buddy. We arrived at the post office 15 minutes before they closed and bounced our boxes ahead to Kennedy Meadows. “Bouncing” a box means that as long as the box is unopened, the post office will ship it to another post office without having to pay additional postage. We also signed into the PCT hiker log which was very seldom signed: in one binder, the pages went all the way back to the 1990’s- I wish I would have had more time to look through it. We hopped back in the car and made our way back to the trailhead.
She dropped us off a little past where we had left with Jeff which irked us. We didn’t want to skip trail but didn’t want to have to back track either. Instead of moving either direction, we sat under a Joshua tree and ate the bag of fresh cherries we had brought with us that didn’t fit in anyone’s pack. While we were sitting there, a hiker that we hadn’t met came by and stopped to chat with us. Her name was Pioneer and she was from South Africa, attempting to hike as much of the trail as she could this year. We all hit it off and started hiking on together. As always, the trail climbed away from the highway into town, and Pioneer was quickly out of sight while we huffed and puffed under our heavy packs. Oh well.
The trail leveled out into beautiful ridges, giving us spectacular views of the valleys below.
The desert truly is an incredible place. It is nothing like what I expected but is full of life and full of beauty. As the sun began to set, we started looking for a campsite. We were high in elevation, walking on ridges with very few flat spots to pitch our tents. We were coming up on a saddle (where two mountains come together with a relatively flat spot between them) and figured that would be an acceptable although probably windy campsite.
We arrived at the saddle and found Pioneer already set up there. There was plenty of room for the rest of us and lots of trees to block the wind. We enjoyed the sunset together, ate dinner and exchanged stories. It was nice to talk to someone new and to not be the only girl for a change! This was a lovely night in a great campsite- we even got a little bit of cell signal to send home pictures of our view.
Hiked with: Jailbreak, Bandaid
Camped with: Jailbreak, Bandaid, Pioneer